Choosing a Setting
Much of what has been written emphasizes that you need to make a decision about what it is you want to do – who you want to work with, who you want to represent in what kinds of cases.
Do you need to have a passion? It helps because once you have gone through the process of narrowing your options and through research and talking to people have decided what you want to do, there is a natural tendency to not let barriers and obstacles stand in the way of getting what you want.
(Quite different from the reluctance and resistance you feel inside when you are being interviewed by a partner at BigLaw trying to convince him or her that you DO want to spend a year in a storage area reading documents.)
But does your choice have to be your lifetime desire? No!! But there is a practical reason to choose your practice area. As you read the following article, you will soon realize that starting with Locating Practitioners you will soon realize that the marketing and promotion required to find a position or embark on a path to solo practice is intense and time-consuming. The approach cannot be undertaken with more than one focus.
No matter what step you take, whoever you talk to, whatever organization you join has to be part of your promotional campaign. It is not a sales campaign yet since you are not interviewing for a job opening.
Think about the resumes that you were advised to draft in law school. Remember how you were told to eliminate anything that revealed the “real” you because if BigLaw ever found that out, the firm would not want you. The solution was that on paper there was NO you so that when you were hired, you would find yourself in an incredibly uncomfortable place and be miserable.
Not our approach.
What you say and what you send, like a resume, will let them know who you are and what you seek.
Nothing about this approach is novel. It is simply basic marketing. If you manufacture skis, you wouldn’t want to promote your products to a bookstore. In the same way, if you present yourself as a corporate litigator, you might not want to develop a promotional campaign directed at those in the field of domestic relations. Now would be the time to talk about your college internship at the shelter for abused women and the senior paper you wrote on abortion rights.
In this campaign you will for the most part connect with those who do what you want to do and guess what!! They will be pleased that someone actually cares about what they do and will be interested in helping you.
That is why you need to choose a setting!
One step I recommend is deciding on the area of practice that most appeals to you. There are many such lists of traditional areas of practice of lawyers from which to make a choice. I have compiled one such list in an article on my blog.